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Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women's Studies


The faculty in the Women's Studies Program routinely serve as mentors and on thesis committees for graduate students doing feminist or gender studies research across a wide variety of disciplines. To this point, they have had no mechanism by which to grant credit for such work other than as Directed Reading. In the interest of more accurately describing students' coursework and allowing for a more coherent program, the faculty have proposed a modest but academically demanding Certificate program that emphasizes multidisciplinary feminist scholarship and can be tailored to fit individual students' specific needs. The Certificate program is intended to guide and direct students to examine the factors which affect the status of women across cultures and through time: to analyze theories and assumptions about women in various disciplines; to contribute to the reformulation of social knowledge; to explore institutionalizing social change that highlights and supports the achievements of women locally and intentionally; and to understand the usefulness of gender as an analytical tool in many fields. It is expected to appeal to graduate students who have done an undergraduate major in Women Studies and wish to continue in the field, to students in other areas whose research involves feminist analysis, to those who would like to incorporate sex/ gender differences into their work, and to students who desire a more precise recognition for the multidisciplinary nature of their degree.

The Certificate is fully consonant with the University Strategic Plan's emphasis on diversity, both ethnic and gender.

Students will take 9 credits of required courses (including Research Methods, Interdisciplinary Feminist Theory and a capstone research or community involvement project resulting in publishable work) and 12 of the 18 credits required will be at the 600-level. Electives will be chosen from the student's field of concentration or from the seventeen departments with which Women's Studies currently crosslists courses. The Certificate program will not require the implementation of new courses and the modest cost of the program will be absorbed within the existing budget. Enrollment will be limited to 35 students in total; a maximum of 10 new students will be admitted each year and it is expected that they will complete the Certificate within three years of admission.

Staffing is already sufficient to begin offering the Certificate immediately: 3 full-time faculty and 2 half-time faculty in Women's Studies plus an additional 6 affiliated faculty members from other departments.

We are convinced that there is significant interest in offering such a Certificate, on the part of faculty and students, and that its rigorous and dynamic curriculum will enrich students' graduate programs, provide them with validation of a specialization that is in demand across the curriculum, and respond to community needs.

WHEREAS the Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women's Studies will allow faculty in Women's Studies, as well as affiliated faculty in other departments, to better organize the work currently being provided on a case by case basis and permit graduate students to receive a credential that accurately reflects their training and experience; and

WHEREAS students in the proposed certificate program will examine contemporary feminist theories of gender, explore and query feminist epistemologies and the methods of inquiry that accompany them, and apply and extend these ideas and methods to their chosen field of study; and

WHEREAS there is no comparable program at the University of Hawaii-Manoa; and

WHEREAS existing staff resources will be utilized for the Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women's Studies and no additional faculty, office or classroom facilities, or other financial resources will be required for the certificate program; and

WHEREAS the Faculty Senate Committee on Academic Policy and Planning as well as the Graduate Division have reviewed and endorsed the proposed program; now

Therefore, be it RESOLVED that the Manoa Faculty Senate recommends the approval of the Graduate Certificate in Advanced Women's Studies.

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